The last 18 months had been a whole new level of stress for Terry with lockdown after lockdown causing his little corner shop to be on the verge of closing permanently. After months of only scraping by with his loyal customers popping in when it was safe, today was the day when lockdown six would be lifted and Terry can finally see his finances turn a corner. He’d woken up early to stock the shelves with his big sellers and put out his huge sign to lure them in. Cheapest Chocolate Buttons in Town!
The first hour had been slow going with only Mrs Jenkins coming in for her usual paper and toilet roll combo, along with a long conversation about the latest strains of the disease. Half an hour later feeling his eyes grow heavy with boredom, Terry heard the bell over the front door ring and his day was about to get very interesting.
Three people stormed into the shop, one ran down the aisle towards Terry, one took the near wall by the drinks and magazines and the last one stayed by the front door. They all wore face masks and shades, one had a mask covered in Super Mario Bros, one had a mask with a pig nose and one had a Harry Potter themed face mask.
Terry could see they were young, maybe 14 or 15, but the main reason he wasn’t laughing them out of the shop was because all of them had guns. Super Mario, who had run down the aisle, pointed the gun towards Terry.
“DON’T MOVE!! Keep your arms where we can see them! This is a robbery!! Listen very carefully to my colleague who will give you clear instructions on what to do next. Try anything funny like set off the alarm and we will shoot you! Are we clear?”
Rolling his eyes thinking these kids had watched too many movies, Terry reluctantly put up his arms and nodded at Super Mario. Pig Nose standing by the crisps threw a big black holdall at Terry and began to mumble through his mask.
“Now fill up this bag with everything on those shelves and my colleagues here will fill up their bags with the contents of that fridge and anything else they see.”
Before filling the bag, Terry raised his hand as if he was in a classroom and wanted to ask a question.
Super Mario pointed towards him with the gun. It looked like a real one so Terry went along with the demands.
“What is it?” asked the pint-sized thief.
“So you’re not interested in any money? Just some sweets, some bottles, cans and magazines?” said Terry.
“Yeah, so what?” said Pig Nose
“Nothing, just a refreshing change I guess.” Terry could sense he had flummoxed Super Mario.
“Oh shut up and keeps your arms up!” demanded Pig Nose waving his gun around.
“How do I fill the bag?” enquired Terry knowing it was a risk but he waited to double check.
“What!?” screamed Super Mario whose voice cracked like puberty was still in progress.
“I can’t fill the bags if my arms are up!” pointed out Terry.
Pig Nose walked up to stand next to Super Mario and pointed the gun at point blank range until it was touching the side of Terry’s head.
“Just fill the bags with what I said, give it back to me once it’s full and then put your arms back up. Okay?”
Terry closed his eyes, he’d pushed it too far. His ex wife was tutting somewhere saying “You never let it go!” He conceded that the sooner he filled the bags, the sooner they would go.
“Yes, much clearer thank you!”
Terry started to put as many bags of sweets, crisps and biscuits as he could fit into the bag. He made sure he started with the ones nearer their Best Before dates as no point in wasting stock and they would never know.
Pig Nose had a similar sized bag and was sweeping as many bottles, cans and cartons of drinks out of the fridges. Once one holdall was filled, it was passed to Harry Potter and Pig Nose and Terry filled up another one. Within five minutes the bags were chock full of a tuck shop’s wet dream and Terry was passing them over to Super Mario.
“That’s time!” said Harry Potter from the front door checking his watch.
Terry could see Super Mario was struggling with the weight of the bag.
“Do you need a hand?” he asked starting to walk round the side of the main till and desk to help Super Mario. This shocked the thieves so much the guns started to get waved around again.
“DON’T COME NEAR ME, I’ll BE FINE!!” ordered Super Mario.
Terry ignored him and continued to walk towards the gang to help them get out of the shop.
“Come on! The sooner I get you out the shop, the sooner I can restock and carry on with my day.”
Pig Nose dropped his bag, ran down the aisle past Super Mario up to Terry, gun raised, tripped over a stray bag of crisps and accidentally pulled the trigger…
Terry closed his eyes thinking his last moment on Earth would be trying to help a young thief get out of his shop with stolen goods, whilst the sounds of his ex-wife tutting echoed for eternity through his mind. But he felt very much alive? In fact there was one thing he felt more than anything at the moment and that was… wet?
His eyes shot open to see liquid dripping from the end of the “real” gun. Holding this fake firearm, Pig Nose’s eyes were larger than tennis balls knowing the show was over and they needed to get out of there straight away. Super Mario wrapped the hefty bag over his head and shoulder and waddled down the aisle. Pig Nose was still frozen in time but snapping out of it, he thawed out and followed his fleeing face mask pals out of the shop.
Terry had other plans, springing into action mode, reached over his desk, grabbed his baseball bat and chased the thieves down the aisle. Harry Potter and Super Mario were already outside but Pig Nose was slightly slower as his frozen limbs melted. With his body halfway out of the shop he felt a sharp pain in his arm as Terry’s bat connected with one of his flailing limbs.
“Aggghhh! You crazy old man!”
Pig Nose had no time to check his arm, the adrenaline kicked in and he kept running out of the shop. The little thieves ran down the road with their bags of tasty swag, relieved when they realised Terry was not chasing after them. Instead he waved his bat around his head screaming “NO ONE MESSES WITH TERRY!” Throwing the bat at the back of Pig Nose’s head was a bold choice but Terry was enraged. The wooden weapon flew high and long but sadly even with an injured arm Pig Nose was simply too fast for this make shift javelin. The bat hit the pavement, clipped Pig Nose’s heels, flipped a few more times in the air before coming to rest on the edge of the kerb. Pig Nose and friends had got away. Terry stamped his feet in frustration whilst screaming, “YOU THIEVING BASTARDS!”
Terry didn’t move for half a minute as he watched his adversaries dash down a nearby road and complete their getaway. His chest was tight, as running was not his specialist subject, so did his best to calm down but that was easier said than done. Eventually, after a number of failed attempts Terry let out a long sigh which corrected his mind set and breathing in one fell swoop.
Feeling fairly embarrassed by his behaviour, especially when he noticed Dora in the hairdressers staring at him open mouthed, Terry grabbed the bat, bounced back into the shop and called the police.